For the first time, researchers from Cornell report that they have identified biological markers for chronic fatigue syndrome in gut bacteria and inflammatory microbial agents in the blood. Chronic fatigue syndrome is a condition where normal exertion leads to debilitating fatigue that isn’t alleviated by rest. There are no known triggers, and a diagnosis requires lengthy tests done by an expert. Until now, it’s mystified physicians but this new study gives us hope.

In fact, some have suggested the disease may be psychosomatic.

However, the study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and published June 23 in the journal Microbiome, explains how the team correctly diagnosed myalgic encephalomyeletis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) in 83 percent of patients through stool samples and blood work.

From the article:

“Our work demonstrates that the gut bacterial microbiome in ME/CFS patients isn’t normal, perhaps leading to gastrointestinal and inflammatory symptoms in victims of the disease,” said Maureen Hanson, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and the paper’s senior author. “Furthermore, our detection of a biological abnormality provides further evidence against the ridiculous concept that the disease is psychological in origin.”

Ludovic Giloteaux, a postdoctoral researcher and first author of the study said, “In the future, we could see this technique as a complement to other noninvasive diagnoses, but if we have a better idea of what is going on with these gut microbes and patients, maybe clinicians could consider changing diets, using prebiotics.”

For the study, Ithaca campus researchers collaborated with Dr. Susan Levine, an ME/CFS specialist in New York City, who recruited 48 people diagnosed with ME/CFS and 39 healthy people to provide stool and blood samples.

The team sequenced regions of microbial DNA from the stool samples to identify different types of bacteria. What they found was that the diversity of types of bacteria was greatly reduced and there were fewer bacterial species known to be anti-inflammatory in ME/CFS patients compared to healthy people (this is also observable in people with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis). They also discovered specific markers of inflammation in the blood, which was likely due to leaky gut.

The team hopes that in future studies they will be able to look for evidence of viruses and fungi in the gut, to see if one of these- or an association of these, along with bacteria- may be causing or contributing to the illness.

Good news for those suffering with Chronic Fatigue. Please feel free to share this good news if you have a friend currently suffering.

Source: Cornell Chronicle